GUEST POST: Why we can't have nice things

by: Eileen Lu
Someone I know closed up some of his stores. The business was doing great; there were a lot of customers--it wasn't the sort of place you'd expect to go under. But it did. Because his employees decided to steal everything that wasn't nailed down (and some of those that were). And it wasn't the case of one or two grubby people, it was a wholesale operation, from the manager to the lowliest schlubb.

Why they'd do such a thing is just stupid. Now, of course, they're out of work, with criminal records and a pending suit. Sure, while their little racket may have gotten them some short-term gains, they end up losing in the long run. Now that they have criminal records who's going to hire them? It's not like the gains of their petty thievery will see them to retirement.

It happens all the time. People act like rats on a boat made of cheese. They're so busy gorging themselves they're actually surprised when they realize they're drowning. By then of course it is too late.

Inevitably when questioned they rationalize it as "mayaman naman," implying that their take wouldn't be missed, that the person is rich anyway and can foot it. Except they can't. For most part when they say rich they mean anyone who has little more than they do, and even if the person were rich that does not make it right.

When you are hungry you don't steal the food out of your neighbor's mouth. You go and get your own. And that is the crux of the matter- an unwillingness to work, an attitude that would rather have 500 pesos today than 5000 tomorrow (to hell with tomorrow, actually). And that's why we can't have nice things- nobody wants to plant, everyone just wants the fruits.


I've seen it happen a lot of times now, when a Filpino is confronted with something marginally more difficult than his usual mindless task his reaction is to stare into the distance and ignore you. I suppose they do that because it's marginally more mature than closing your eyes, covering your ears and going "La la la, I can't hear you!" even if it's exactly the same thing- ignoring the 'problem' and hoping it goes away. It's rude and annoying.

It doesn't seem to be an intelligence thing. I've received it from salespeople, security guards, pharmacists- people with enough between their ears to function in society. I believe it may be a cultural laziness response (after all, Juan Tamad is a folk hero), an unwillingness to exert effort. This is another reason why we can't have nice things.

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